Paid Family Leave in NYC: National Trend or Anomaly?

Paid family leave has long been an issue for working parents, as the time spent away from work is likely causing them to take a lesser amount of income home. Earlier this year, the state of New York passed the most generous paid family leave legislation in the country, with an even more liberal leave coming from Washington, D.C. sometime this year. Already, three states offer between four to six weeks of paid family leave to employees who work a certain number of hours and meet the requirements to care for a new child or a sick family member. New York ups the ante with twelve weeks of paid leave for ALL workers in New York. This is also a huge step, because it gives men and women, full and part time employees, and employees of all company sizes the same opportunity.

New York has set up a system that will take very small employee contributions from their check, and will not cost employers or taxpayers any money. Debra Ness of the National Partnership for Women and Families, said that this change will allow 6.4 million workers in New York the chance to take paid time off that they wouldn’t have had otherwise. This is huge! Also, the fact that paid leave is not distributed fairly across the country, and that low-income families are affected the most because they are unable to take time off if it means not bringing home any income. As it stands, only 12% of the American working population has access to paid family leave. And of course, the top-earning players have easier access to the leave that does exist.

Not only does this change the game from a financial standpoint, but it also allows mothers to spend adequate time with their new babies, and encourages fathers to be equal partners in the child-rearing activities. Currently, 1 in 4 women return to work just two weeks after giving birth (due to financial reasons). This is arguably not enough time for the mother and baby to bond and heal from the traumatic event that is childbirth, not to mention the sleepless nights and painful process of caring for a newborn baby.

Bill Lipton, founder of the Working Families Party, notes that the presidential campaigns and popularity of candidates such as Bernie Sanders also validates progressive politics as a real factor in American culture today. Legislation such as this paid family leave passed by New Yorkers is likely to start a domino effect across the nation, as states look to California and New York to set the bar for this type of change.

Bathroom Break! How Legislation is Playing Out in the Loo

The legislation and controversy surrounding the use of bathrooms by transgender individuals has sparked debate, hate, and opinions all around the country. In late May 2016, eleven (11) states had sued the Obama administration for their guidelines regarding the use of bathrooms. Obama has been accused by conservatives of making schools a “social experiment” in allowing students who identify as transgender to choose which bathroom they will use at school. Parents are concerned about the safety of their children while in school, and worry about the exposure of children to topics such as this at a young age. Are there any right answers moving forward with this issue? How do employers ensure that their employees’ rights are protected while still following the guidelines set forth by the legislative and executive branches of our government?

Earlier this year, North Carolina passed a law that bans transgender individuals from using public bathrooms that do not match the sex listed on their birth certificates. Of course, this is in violation of the federal guidelines and constitutes discrimination. North Carolina then sued the federal government, and the federal government responded with their own lawsuit. It’s like a never-ending circle of lawsuits, legislation, and discrimination. Where will it end? And how?

We don’t have all of the answers on this incredibly hot topic in 2016, but we do know a few things that might help employers navigate these choppy waters!

1. Employers are best served to follow the federal guidelines set forth to protect themselves from claims of discrimination and costly litigation.
2. With competing responses from different arms of the government (federal vs. state in the case of North Carolina), employers would be wise to consult legal counsel before adapting any of their existing policies.
3. Err on the side of anti-discriminatory behaviors, actions, and policies. In other words, choose the path that is least likely to cause any discrimination, whether intentional or not.
4. Reiterate to your employees that their safety is of utmost concern to the company, and encourage them to seek out HR if needed.

In times like these, where we see acts of incredible violence such as the Orlando shooting in the early morning hours of June 12, 2016, it seems that we would all be best served to promote an environment of more love, less hate; more acceptance, less intolerance. Because in the wake of the largest massacre on U.S. soil since 9/11, it is clear that humanity as we know it is capable of doing awful things. Having a workplace that encourages diversity and inclusion is one step in the right direction. #prayfororlando #transgender #weareorlando

Are Your Incentives Working?

Just like parenting or coaching or teaching, being a cultural change agent in your workplace is something that is not a one-size-fits-all approach. The company culture at Google is going to be very different than the company culture at your neighborhood auto service station. Thus, part of HR’s job and your job as a leader is to figure out what incentives will work for your particular company culture. What drives your employees? What makes them smile and encourages productivity and team cooperation?

  1. Be consistent with the perks you offer – don’t make changes to the system unless something clearly isn’t working. Employees want something to count on when it comes to company incentive programs.
  2. Make sure the incentive matches up with your core values. If you are the CEO of a corporate law firm, a “bring your dog to work day” probably won’t be the best idea.
  3. Consider the tangible perks that you are offering – gym memberships, gourmet lunches, yoga studio on site – and make sure that this is something that will not just attract employees but that will be utilized so it’s not a waste for the company and is actually helping to retain (and not just attract new) talent.
  4. Make changes with the structural and cultural shifts of your organization. Free coffee might not go very far today in the list of company perks, but holding a monthly achievement recognition meeting might work wonders for your employee efficiency, productivity, and self-worth. If your company culture is making a change to a more wellness-friendly and eco-friendly environment, choose incentives that will back this up (i.e. coveted parking spots for hybrid vehicles, refillable water bottles at the water cooler, etc.).
  5. Lead by example – reward your direct reports in a similar way that you’d like to see take effect company-wide. A newsletter shout-out, maybe? A catered lunch for the team? Whatever the incentive, you should always lead by example.

As is the case with many of the changes you will see in the coming years in HR and across companies worldwide, taking into account several factors before deciding on any big changes will be a huge component to the success of your organization. In a world where employees work remotely, have flexible work schedules, and are literally tied to their work lives with cell phones, tablets, and laptops 24/7, the work-life balance is so critical to employee retention and engagement. Offering incentives that work for you and for your employees is a huge step in the right direction! #HRBlogs #incentive #companyculture

Does Your Leadership Have What It Takes?

leadership“Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.”

John Maxwell

 

A recent study by SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) discovered that 4 out of 10 leaders feel their team is lacking in some way to provide continuing leadership and success to the organization. Where does that leave these business leaders but in a place of fear for the future of their company? Determining what each team member brings to the table, what his or her competencies are, where they lack skills and knowledge, and setting up a game plan for the future are all key components to building up strong leaders within your company. So how can you put these ideas into practice?

 

Using competencies to identify the holes and gaps in your talent pool, and determining who is on the path for leadership, will go a long way for success in the company now and in a decade. Competencies can be defined as individual characteristics such as skills, knowledge, self-image, and mindsets that allow people to be successful (or not) in their chosen roles. So what are some of these competencies that we can identify in the business world? What should you be looking for when you start working on a succession plan for the executive team in your organization?

 

  1. Communication skills
  2. Relationship management
  3. Business acumen
  4. Ethical practice
  5. Leadership

 

After reading through that list, do you have some key individuals in mind that could shape the future leadership of your organization? What steps do you have in place right now for a succession plan, mentoring program, or cross-training in order to facilitate the growth and development of your future leaders? #leadership #successionplanning #HRblogs

 

Learning to Speak Geek: Tech Recruiting Tips for Non-Geeks

Although tech recruiting isn’t something we normally do here at Peoplescape, it’s something we have a genuine interest in learning more about, and as our valued customers, clients, colleagues, and friends, we wanted to share some new insight on this growing field with you. In order to recruit in any field, you will be best served if you are knowledgeable about the field: become one with the company you are recruiting for, learn the tricks of the trade, and get a picture of the ideal candidate. But with tech recruiting, you have to go a few steps further into the world of geek. Here’s how!

Step 1: Understand technical departments. Different divisions have different goals, and as the recruiter looking to find the perfect fit for that department, you also need to understand those goals and the way the department ebbs and flows. As with most situations when you are the newcomer in a foreign land, you should make every effort to learn the language.

Step 2: Know the team and tools. Who are the major players? What are the tools at your disposal for this recruitment? Use the network and links that are already provided for you, and build on that as much as possible. Create a connection with the team so that you can act as their voice during the search.

Step 3: Match resumes to roles. When you are less than familiar with the day-to-day tasks for a certain job, you need to make sure that the job description is clear and that the resumes that you are putting forward as potential candidates match those job descriptions. Remember that cute cardboard matching game that you played as a kid? Those cardboard pieces should all match up nicely in this puzzle too!

Step 4: Ask good questions. Asking questions can be so critical in any relationship, and especially so in matching a candidate to a job. Make sure you are prepared prior to any conversations with candidates. Discuss the role with as many people in the company as you can, so that you have a full circle view of the role, the responsibilities, and the intricacies that make a department work (or not).

Step 5: Educate yourself. Still unclear on what exactly a software engineer is versus a website developer? Educate yourself! Google, follow blogs, join groups on LinkedIn. Get out there and take advantage of the resources available. And if all else fails, call a professional HR team who knows what they’re doing with any and all recruitments! @PeoplescapeHC #peoplescapehr #HRprofessionals